Get the popcorn folks, it's the computer industry's heavyweight championship fight of the century.
Michael Dell led with an uppercut to the chin when he announced Dell's free worldwide recycling policy and challenged the industry to match it. Steve jobs staggered back to the ropes, dazed, then came back with a surprise left when he declared a phase-out of the worst toxic chemicals in the Apple product line (and a deadline to do so sooner than Dell's), along with a new commitment to eco-transparency. Yesterday, Dell shook it off and sucker-punched Jobs when he laid down his plans to become the greenest computer company in the world.
This is the kind of prize fight we love.
Greenpeace rented the arena, sponsored the fight and convinced the two champions to step into the ring when we created our Electronics Ranking guide. The guide was aimed at ranking Electronics manufacturers according to policies which impacted the problem of E-waste -- the mountains of discarded gadgets that are rising in Asia and Africa.
We've been putting the guide out quarterly, and the jockeying for better approval ratings and the speed with which the industry has taken up our demands has surprised even some of the most hardened salty-dog campaigners who walk the recycled decks of the good ship Greenpeace.
But then, we perhaps underestimated the force of competitiveness among CEOs.
Michael Dell and Steve Jobs have been bitter rivals since the day Jobs returned to Apple. Dell was asked at a public conference what he would do to fix Apple. His reply was "What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."
It's been "dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee" with those two ever since.
In 2006, when Apple's value surpassed Dell's, Jobs sent an email to his entire staff gloating that Apple had had the last laugh.
Now, if these boys want to fight about who is going to get a truly green computer out the door first, we're happy to promote that race. Winner gets a Greenpeace T-shirt.
Now Gentlemen, we want a good, clean fight...
Egg them on: Who will be the first to release the truly green computer?